How many times has your child said to you, “You are not my friend anymore!” or “I don’t like you!”? Too many times to count? Okay, good… you’re doing something right.
I can tell you that now, being an adult, my mother is one of my greatest friends but I’m 28, not a child. When I became a mother and started to parent a bright, very active mini version of myself, I wanted my daughter to be my best friend. I then realized boundaries needed to be set and my duty was to mother, not be her friend.
Boundaries, you ask? What boundaries? I want my daughter to be able to talk to me about anything and to have open and honest conversations with her, but I also need to be the same person that enforces the rules, teaches her the correct way to act, manners, and to simply be a nice human being.
I am very active on social media and see some parents that want their child to be their best friend, or simply to be the “cool parent”. Many parents may be too exhausted from parenting or working all day, and I totally get it… parenting is hard as hell. It is a 24/7 job and sometimes it’s easier to give in to whatever your kids want so you can save some sanity. Being your child’s friend is easy; being a parent sometime is not.
In friendships, there is no “boss”, but two equals. In a parent/child relationship… that does not work. You cannot let that slip away, because once the parenting has turned into a friendship, you will not get it back because children are so smart… and they will start understanding what they can get away with… and if you’re best friends, you can’t stay mad… right?
None of us want to be the bad guy, the parent that isn’t cool, or to make our kids angry or upset, but it’s going to come with the territory and they will thank us someday when they became parents that we just didn’t sit back, let them do whatever they wanted, and end up in jail, ha ha!
It is so important for me to be a good parent; I am my children’s mother, and I’m the only one they will ever get so I don’t want to screw it up. Parenting is a daily journey; mistakes will be made, but if we learn from those mistakes we will grow.
My wish for my children is that they always know how much I love them, and that with those times that they don’t like me or tells me that I’m not their friend anymore, they will look back down the road and realize I was not the mean mom… I was simply trying to help mold them into amazing little humans.
AmandelaDecember 29, 2017 at 8:35 pm
I love this!! Working in higher education, I have seen the consequences of “best-friend” relationships between children and their parents. As a new mom, I’m learning but I struggle sometimes. However, I do think it’s important to the success of parenting that boundaries be set.
Keri|flipflopweekendJanuary 1, 2018 at 7:06 pm
Amen! I am a high school counselor and see the detrimental results of kids that never had boundaries. There are many days that our boundaries cause our 6 and 4-year-old to cry and be upset…but that’s okay. We’re not squelching them or making them feel unloved. In fact, I believe that boundaries are more loving. It keeps them safe and is how they learn to grow and develop, so that one day we can have a good relationship as healthy, functioning adults. Nice post!
vacationlandmamaJanuary 1, 2018 at 7:08 pm
Love that! You must see it day in and day out. I work in a pediatricians often and see it all too often, tough love is sometimes necessary to creat amazing little humans!
CammiJanuary 1, 2018 at 8:07 pm
I couldn’t agree more! I have a one-year old and my husband and I are always saying that as she gets older we will be her parents first and her friend second. I don’t want my kid growing up out of control, and sadly, when parents are playing the “cool friend” game, that’s what ends up happening.
JanitzaJanuary 1, 2018 at 9:32 pm
Totally agree! I’ve learned to flip it when he says hes not my friend anymore I tell him ok, and then he’s dying to be my friend again. At first it was super hard to hear him say that, and a few times I did give in, but I have learned from my mistakes…..Great Post!
AnitraJanuary 1, 2018 at 10:07 pm
You nailed This! So important to remember we are parents first, then we can be friends. There has to be a level of respect for you parents, I’m 40 years old and wpuld never disrespect my mom! She’d have my tush! Great post!
MichelleJanuary 1, 2018 at 10:40 pm
I think there’s room for a combination of both, at least that’s been my own experience.
Lakeyshia LemaneJanuary 3, 2018 at 8:07 pm
Great post! That’s how my mother raised me and I plan to do the same for my daughter. I don’t see anything wrong with it. It teaches our children to love and respect us!
Lindsay AratariFebruary 15, 2018 at 8:31 am
Love this! Thanks for sharing some great tips for this new Mama!
AmandaFebruary 16, 2018 at 9:12 am
Yes! Be a nice human being! Why is that so hard? Agree. Parent first. Friend later in life. Good post.
Cris F.March 3, 2018 at 7:22 pm
So many parents don’t realize it has to start the day they’re born. Yes, our babies and toddlers are adorable. They’re also rebellious teens-to-be and waiting until they’re 12 to be strict is too late. At 14, my son no longer tells me I’m not his friend nor that I’m the worst mom in the whole universe (his favorite insult when he was 6 and 7). He also knows without a doubt that my word is as good as gold so he mostly behaves himself. You are so right – out jobs are to raise functioning adults, not BFFs. Great post!